zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (onions)
According to one Markham (The English Housewife, 1683), today is the day to sow "Chicory, Fennel, and Apples of Love." (Advice reprinted in Charles Kightly's Perpetual Almanack of Folklore [Thames and Hudson, 1987].)

It is, however, raining bucketfuls, so I am tending to press releases instead.


Over on Twitter, Amy Gutman/Plan B Nation pointed to Crescent Dragonwagon's post on Why There Is No Such Thing as a Definitive Cookbook. It may appeal to some of you as vegetarian cooks and to others as authors, but I confess that what really stood out for me was her detailed description of the hurry-up-and-waitness of publishing and what doesn't make it into (or gets cut from) books. She writes about a Louise Ehrlich quote she'd wanted to include:


I'd already noted and set [it] aside ... from a short story of hers, "Plague of Doves," which appeared in the New Yorker in 2004 (this gives you some idea of how long I work on these things), and which I longed to include in Bean by Bean. It was this: "For one whole summer, my great-grandparents lived off a bag of contraband pinto beans." What a delicious invitation of a quote that is; it just makes you want to know more, and it also emphasizes, indirectly, beans' amazing ability to swell and feed many on little.

But, the New Yorker couldn't give me permission because by 2008, Plague of Doves was a novel. This necessitated going to the book's publisher, which advised that it required eight weeks to answer permissions requests, which meant that I couldn’t get permission in time for Bean by Bean's publication.


And this:


You always wind up going after permissions under an impossible deadline. Why? Because you can’t get them ahead of time (like when you first discover the quote). Why? The Permissions Departments of all major publishers want to know a few things. How many copies will the first printing be? How much will the book sell for? Will the quote you are asking about be set aside in bold-face or merely included in a paragraph? All perfectly legitimate questions. There's just one catch: the author doesn't know the answers. And her own publisher is likely to get tetchy if she asks "too soon." Too soon is, in my experience, anything more than a month before publication. And, some questions have to be asked of the Sales Department, some of the Art Department, and some of one's editor, who usually says, "That's a good question. I'll get back to you on that." And may. Or may not.

Date: 2012-03-08 08:51 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] kass
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
I do love the name "Crescent Dragonwagon."

:-)

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